Raw milk has sickened many more people than previously reported

USA Today reports that, according to a Minnesota Department of Health study published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, a larger number of people than previously reported may have become sick after drinking unpasteurized milk.

Twenty-one cases were confirmed and an additional 530 were recorded as possible, while 20,000 cases may have gone unreported, all over the span of a decade.

The report also indicates the notion that “farm children are largely immune from such illnesses” may be a myth, noting that a large number of cases involved children who consumed milk from farms where they or their relatives lived.

The Los Angeles Times reports that state health officials estimated over 17% of residents who drank unpasteurized milk became sick. They cited the fact that raw milk can be responsible for “uncounted sporadic illnesses” as well as foodborne illnesses.

Although raw mild advocates claim it carries health benefits, the study noted that “raw milk consumers, potential consumers and policy makers who might consider relaxing regulations regarding raw milk sales should be educated regarding illnesses associated with raw milk consumption.”